13 Tools and Resources for First-Time Cloud Users

April 3, 2017

3:30 pm

Whether it’s for file sharing, customer service, or basic business functions, it seems like every organization these days is using the cloud. Compared with traditional on-premise programs, cloud tools offer a much easier way to store, manage, access, and update the software you need to run your business.

We asked thirteen entrepreneurs to share one go-to toll or resource for business owners looking to familiarize themselves with cloud computing. Check out their answers below and get yourself ahead of the curve when it comes to the cloud.

QuickBase

The advantage of the cloud is that it facilitates anywhere, anytime collaboration. A project management tool like QuickBase leverages the cloud to provide real-time task management, assignment tracking, budgeting, and reporting to your teams. Plus, you can download apps to accomplish specific business functions – or build your own – without any IT or coding experience.

– Alexandra Levit of PeopleResults 

Lynda.com

Cloud computing is a very comprehensive industry and opportunities abound with regard to driving efficiency and cost savings into your business. However, not all services are equally cost effective and there are uses of cloud computing that may not be apparent. That’s why I recommend business owners using cloud computing for the first time to take an educational course at Lynda.com.

– Kristopher Jones of LSEO.com 

Zapier

Those new to the cloud can quickly get lost in the multitude of tools they sign up for and the lack of data sharing between them. Connecting these apps with a tool like Zapier shows these users that they can think of multiple tools as one “system” and starts them thinking about how to manage their data and workflow instead of just the apps themselves.

– Brian Fritton of Patch of Land 

Cloud Management Tool

A tool for managing cloud computing environments will help you monitor and provision your environment with servers, storage, apps, etc., and will send up red flags when problems occur. They also track performance trends. Each cloud computing vendor has a management tool that they offer, so your tool will depend on which vendor you choose.

– Nicole Munoz of Start Ranking Now 

Online Guides

There are a number of comprehensive, easy to read online guides about cloud computing from PCMag, Mashable, Amazon Web Services and more. These online tutorials provide a lot of good information and visuals that make it easy for a business owner to understand cloud computing and how they can use it.

– Murray Newlands of Sighted 

Evernote

Evernote is such a time-saver. It basically serves as an electronic memory of anything you think about and organizes it in a way that you can easily access it later. You can add notes, files, images, scanned documents, etc. and it’ll sync across all your devices and operating systems. It’s one of the top apps that I use every day.

– Humberto Farias of Concepta 

YouTube

Cloud computing can often be a challenging aspect of technology. There’s a lot to learn, understand, and master. While there are plenty of great resources out there for new users, YouTube and its content creators have done a significant job of covering all the bases and teaching newcomers the ropes. It’s our go-to when ramping up on new technologies.

– Blair Thomas of First American Merchant 

Contactually

I recommend Contactually, which is a CRM tool that is designed to help business people maximize the ROI of their relationships. It automatically lets you know when important relationships are going cold, so you can take the corrective steps to preserve them. You never know by reaching out to someone it could lead to a new role, or even a hot sales lead.

– Luigi Wewege of Vivier Group 

Xero

Accounting is an area of your business that can benefit greatly from cloud computing. With Xero you can automate a lot of functions, and have up-to-date reports and statements. Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business, so keep a close watch on your finances is essential.

– Ismael Wrixen of FE International

A Vendor With Cloud Computing Support

Whatever vendor a business owner selects should offer the option to provide a tutorial and set-up so they understand how to use the application. Even when researching vendors, many of the websites have sections on how cloud computing is used so you can even learn while undertaking the vendor research process.

– Angela Ruth of Due 

Office 365

The first and cheapest way to the cloud is moving your primary software and applications to the cloud. And the software that businesses are using most often? Microsoft Office. Get the productivity tools you need every day, with the added security and collaboration functionality of Office 365. At per license, per month, it’s an easy baby step to the cloud.

– Paul Hager of Information Technology Professionals 

Dropbox

Through Dropbox, all of our files are in one place and accessible anywhere. We share documents with people who are working on our projects around the world, and we manage the same information on all of our devices. We even share products with clients through Dropbox because we can send things like large photo files to them and limit their access to other information that we keep in the same place.

– Ashley Ferraro of Dona Jo, Inc. 

Google Drive

We run our whole business on Google from drive, to docs, to gmail, to prosper works (CRM). Google Drive is still the best document collaboration system out there which makes it much more valuable than Dropbox. We put all of our pitch decks, agendas, meeting notes, project folders on Google Drive.

– Eden Chen of Fishermen Labs 

Read more about cloud computing technology here on Tech.Co

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Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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